Last year the two longest serving UFC champions in history were dethroned. Georges "Rush" St-Pierre gave up his belt when he took an indefinite hiatus from the sport and Anderson Silva was beaten twice in a row by undefeated Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman. Anderson Silva may still be known as the best of all time but all claims like that must be debated. Just because Joe Rogan and Dana White say it, does not make it gospel. Obviously those two voicing an opinion helps, but they are not the Gods of MMA; just an entertaining color commentator and a brilliant businessman turned promotion president.
Anderson Silva holds the longest streak of title defenses of any champion in UFC history. His ten title defenses occurred between 2006 and 2013 and during that time he won several fights against Light Heavyweights, which made his winning streak total 16, another UFC record. While his record is unquestionable, much like his natural skills, there are quite a few ways in which Rush is a better fighter.
This is not to say that GSP would win in a fight. They fought in different weight categories, so that would be an issue. The weight category will not be taken into account and rather we will be taking these fighters on a pound for pound basis. This article isn't meant to denigrate the career of The Spider, but rather to challenge those militant fans who believe him to be some sort of mixed martial arts God-king.
Obviously these points are all up for debate, so get that going in the comments section.
10 GSP Has a Better Record
This one just comes down to basic mathematics. Their title defense streaks are similar, with Silva at ten and GSP at nine. They have both competed for many years in the most competitive MMA promotion on the face of the Earth so beyond personal opinion, it is difficult to say one had a more difficult series of opponents than the other. Looking at their mixed martial arts records on a purely numerical basis, GSP has a better win percentage. Anderson Silva lost six of his 39 professional MMA contests, making his win percentage roughly 85%. Georges St-Pierre on the other hand, won 25 of 27 fights placing his win percentage at just under 93%. Numbers don't lie. Silva's number will obviously rise in a few months as he is set to dismember Nick Diaz at the end of January 2015.
9 Strikes Per Minute and All Time Strikes Landed
People frequently shout that Anderson Silva is the best striker of all time. In terms of speed and explosiveness, that may be true but GSP actually has him beat in significant strikes landed per minute. St-Pierre lands an average of 3.77 of these while The Spider's average is 3.1. This is not a huge difference but in a five round title fight an extra jab or kick per minute can make a huge difference. GSP also holds the record for most strikes landed in the history of the UFC. Silva fans can shout and howl about knockout power but that simply isn't Rush's game. He is a calculating fighter who prefers the safe route of carefully dissecting an opponent's game and implementing a strategy, but GSP's brilliant strategy will be praised more fully later.
8 Silva Lost Twice to the Same Opponent
One essential factor for determining the true value of a fighter is whether or not he or she learns from their mistakes. St-Pierre lost to Matt Hughes and Matt Serra back in 2004 and 2007 respectively. When he faced these two fighters for a second time, he was noticeably prepared and took them to task with ruthless vigilance. Silva, in contrast, did not look like himself at all during his second fight with Chris Weidman. At the end of the fight he looked like Gumby, but even before his injury, it was clear that The Spider had not properly prepared to face the champion again.
7 GSP Still Has Plenty of Time
In very basic terms, Georges St-Pierre achieved similar success to that of Anderson Silva while six years younger. Currently 39, it will be surprising if Anderson Silva is the same after his gruesome broken leg. If nothing else, it will be in the back of his mind. GSP sustained an ACL tear back in March so the same can be said for him, but he still has much more time to stage a comeback than Silva. These men are still phenomenal physical specimens, but at the end of the day, massive success was found by GSP much earlier in life than Anderson Silva, and he has more potential for success moving forward in the future.
6 Better Sportsmanship
This is very subjective, but it is an easy argument to make that part of a fighter's stock is his or her sportsmanship. For our purposes, sportsmanship is a good thing, and nobody in the league handles himself with the class of Georges St-Pierre. Silva is not by any means a bully or a jerk to his fellow fighters, but he is known to mock his opponents in the ring. While it is not against the rules, pretending to be injured and showing what could be seen as disrespect to Chris Weidman came back to bite him...in the form of a knockout shot to the jaw.
5 Most Wins Ever in the UFC
Not to come back to straight numbers, but in terms of most wins in the promotion, GSP has 19 wins in the octagon while Silva has 16. If the UFC is the most competitive cage-fighting promotion in the world, (it is, next question please) by the numbers alone, GSP has achieved greater success than The Spider and they have had roughly the same amount of time in the league.
Takedowns are an essential part of any fighter's arsenal. putting the opponent on the floor is a sure fire way to score points at the judges table and inflict damage on the opponent. In terms of examining the numbers regarding takedowns, Silva has GSP beaten in terms of takedown accuracy, with The Spider scoring 77% of takedowns while GSP's number is 74%. This is a negligible number, and GSP has Silva beaten in both takedowns per 15 minutes (GSP 4.2- Silva 0.7) and takedown defense (GSP 83% - Silva 69%).
3 GSP Never Did This
2 Superior Wrestling
This is pretty straightforward, Georges St-Pierre may well be the best wrestler the UFC has ever seen. As previously discussed his takedowns are among the best in the sport and after a takedown he can control an entire fight from the floor. While it can be boring compared to a slugfest, pinning an opponent keeping them from moving is a legitimate and safe way to win a fight. Anderson Silva is no stranger to the ground game, but at his very core, The Spider is a striker. His wrestling is nowhere near the level of GSP.
1 Sharper Tactics
Rush is the greatest tactician that the sport of MMA has ever seen. He can pick apart an opponent, land strikes, score flawless takedowns and control the fight from the ground. He controls the fight whether on the floor or standing and strategizes like nobody else in the sport. Silva's greatest assets are his explosive striking and countering but these attributes do not compare to GSP's ability to dissect a fight and come up with multiple strategies to win.